This is one of those albums that can change you.
There is not a single song here I dislike. I don’t even know where to begin describing it.
I get such a feeling when I listen to this I get nowhere else. Those are the best albums to me. Turn on the Bright Lights is somehow tied to my psyche. Or something. It just sounds familiar on so many levels.
Turn on the Bright Lights features simple melodies, heavy basslines, and Paul Bank’s strong, baritone voice singing haunting, cryptic lyrics. It is an album of desperation, rejection, guilt, desertion, and painful longing.
It is also angry, but in a sad and desperate way. The kind of anger that is useless and fruitless.
Though bleak and sparse, Turn on the Bright Lights is contradictingly intricate and lush. It engages because it is honest. It puts all of its darkness the table. It forces you to do the same if you are going to explore this album effectively. This is the post-punk/indie masterpiece of the new millenium.
My favorites are “Obstacle 1,” “NYC, ” “Hands Away,” and “The New.” I just picked my favorites here; all the songs are wonderful.
Many of the ideas expressed in Turn on the Bright Lights are often the ignored and ugly truths of life. These truths, these nasty thoughts and feelings we all have, are usually buried under layers of guilt deep in our subconscious.
Paul Banks unearths these truths. They might be ugly to recognize in the mirror of this album, but rarely are they expressed in such a beautiful and perfect way.